- On 21 May 2016
MONTGOMERY — For the second straight year, the No. 1 Sumiton Christian Eagles took the field against the Ider Hornets in the AHSAA Class 2A State Championship final, and once again came away hoisting the title trophy with a 9-3 victory on Friday at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.
The contest would not be one of ease — the Eagles were forced to battle back from two separate deficits with key plays on offense and defense before a championship effort at the plate in the final inning sealed the win, the program’s second-consecutive title and the third overall under coach Jessica Aderholt.
Kamree Lay earned MVP honors for her performance both in the circle and on defense.
Lay gave up seven hits, three runs, four walks and struck out five batters in seven innings. In an equally impressive effort at the plate, she went a perfect 4 for 4 with a run scored and two RBIs.
Lay also found her way into the state record books early in the tournament, tying the mark for the most consecutive no-hit innings pitched at 21.
“I try to give it everything I have when I take the field, both in the circle and on offense for the entire team. Tonight, everyone earned our championship — there wasn’t a single member of our team that didn’t do everything within their power to get the trophy. Without that effort, we wouldn’t have won,” Lay said. “The last three outs of the game, I realized that this is what we all work for our entire life. It’s a dream come true.”
Also named to the All-Tournament team were Holly Murray, Abbie Brewster and Kendall Beth Sides.
Brewster’s play in the tournament was vital in several instances. In the title game, the senior went 2 for 4 with a run scored, three RBIs and a double, but her most memorable play was in a 9-6, 11-inning victory over Mars Hill on Thursday — where her three-run home run helped keep the Eagles in the primary bracket.
“I couldn’t have done anything in this tournament without my team being behind me every step of the way. I believed since the beginning of the season that we could repeat as state champions and I have faith in my team in every minute of every game,” Brewster said. “We’re a fighting team and we never give up until the end. We knew if we came together as a group, we could overcome this challenge for the title.”
Murray, also a senior, has been critical for the Eagles in both title seasons, first as an outfielder and this year at catcher, providing production at the plate along the way. In the final, she was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and was involved in key defensive plays at the plate to keep the Hornets from scoring.
“This moment is just indescribable to me — after leaving Lynn as a state-runner up before my junior year and winning one title, then repeating in my senior season is just the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had,” Murray said. “This family — as they’re so much more to me than a team — is truly awe-inspiring. Even though we are down on the scoreboard in every state tournament, we’ve always kept our heads up. If one of us popped out, we all just came together. Nothing bothered us, we just knew that if we kept fighting that something good would come out of it.”
The tournament was also special for Sides, whose contributions to the repeat championships adds to her family’s title legacy. Her sister Katlyn was a member of Sumiton Christian’s first championship team in 2010.
With her run scored in the game, Sides ended the year with 103, which places her second in the record books for most runs scored in a single season.
“Everytime I get on base, it becomes all about scoring for my team and keep pushing the runs upward so no one can catch up to us. With us winning it last year, if we didn’t repeat it would have been really disappointing. It was out main goal, but I’m so proud of my team,” Sides said. “Even when I didn’t have my best game, they pushed through and they’re amazing in everything they do.”
Also contributing to the offensive effort, Jenna Ergle went 2 for 2 with two runs scored and two doubles, Savanah Langston was 2 for 3 with two runs scored, Bailee Trotter went 2 for 4 with a run scored, an RBI and a double and Anna Tyree scored a run.
Ider scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 edge.
The Eagles took their first lead of the game in the top of the third inning when Murray drove-in Langston and Ergle on a single, 2-1.
The Hornets responded with two runs in the bottom of the third to regain the scoring advantage, 3-2. The game was tied by Sumiton Christian in the top of the fifth inning when Brewster drove in Ergle on a sacrifice fly, 3-3.
In the top of the seventh, the Eagles won their state championship, following a six-run surge.
Trotter sent Brewster across the plate on a double, then Lay batted in Trotter and Tyree for the 6-3 lead.
Lay and Sides touched home plate on fielding errors and Brewster added another RBI after driving in Langston on a double, securing the 9-3 title victory.
Aderholt praised her team’s effort and determination not only in the championship contest, but throughout the season as well.
“I know it’s very tough to repeat as champions, but I knew these girls wanted it from the beginning. I just looked at them and told them to put it together in the seventh inning, as we had been getting hits, but they were scattered,” Aderholt said. “They put all their hits together. They showed how much they wanted to be champions. We have a great group of girls. They go out and work hard and each one of them is a quality individual. They deserve to be champions.”
Sumiton Christian 5, Ider 2 (8 innings)
The Eagles locked-up a spot in the championship final in the first game of the day, beating the Hornets 5-2 in eight innings.
Lay gave up eight hits in the eight-inning victory, with two runs and a walk, while striking out nine batters.
Offensively, Brewster went 2 for 3 with an RBI, Trotter was 2 for 4 with three RBIs, Sides had a hit with a run scored, while Lay, Murray, Tyree and Abbey Bice all scored a run.
In the top of the third inning, Sides crossed the plate on an RBI single by Brewster for the 1-0 advantage.
Another run crossed the plate in the top of the sixth inning when Trotter drove-in Murray on a single for a 2-0 lead.
Ider tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning, but Sumiton Christian scored three runs in the eighth inning — with Brewster and Tyree crossing the plate on a double from Trotter and Lay driving-in Bice on a sacrifice play for the 5-2 win.